Dr Anna Harutyunyan is an early career systems neuroscientist with specific interests in network medicine, and an advocate of “network view of disease” - an approach that harnesses the power of high throughput omics data and machine learning methodology to characterize pathophysiological states that lead to neurodegeneration, circuit hyperexcitability and eventual cognitive dysfunction, with the ultimate goal of developing targeted therapies for complex and heterogeneous diseases.
Anna completed her undergraduate training in Pennsylvania, USA, followed by a research position at the California Institute of Technology, where she studied neuronal circuits involved in learning and memory. In 2023, Anna earned her PhD from the University of Melbourne, Department of Medicine, where her work focused on developing integrative bioinformatic and machine learning methodology to investigate the molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration in various pre-clinical models of epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.
Anna has amassed extensive experience in animal model-based research and molecular biology, complemented by an in-depth understanding of computational analysis and machine learning methodologies. This multi-disciplinary training has refined her unique ability to comprehend the thermodynamics of protein-based cellular functions in three-dimensional space on a micro scale, while also conceptualizing the dynamics of metabolic networks on a macro scale, within the broader context of all biochemical and electrochemical processes occurring within the cells. This has equipped Anna with the ability to design multidimensional network-based models for systems-level interrogation of biological systems.
Her current research leverages artificial intelligence to develop a novel multi-modal framework for systematic exploration and integration of electrophysiological, immunohistochemical and cognitive/behavioural features with high-throughput omics data (transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics) into multi-dimensional, network-based predictive models for holistic examination of pathophysiological mechanisms underlying epileptogenesis and synaptic dysfunction.
A native of Armenia, raised in South Caucasus, Anna comes from a non-traditional scientific background, where her experiences have strongly influenced how she tackles problems and finds unique, alternative solutions. As a scientific minority, one of her personal goals is to inspire the next generation of female scientists from similar backgrounds, demonstrating that scientific talent transcends cultural boundaries and can come from any background.
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